Macedonians were Greeks
Historical truth on the ancient Macedonians
There has been a large production of 40 propagandistic videos from Alexandar Donski shown on YouTube and a corresponding website (http://www.macedonianswerenotgreeks.com/). These videos are the product of cherry-picking ancient texts, misinterpreting them and in some cases even mistranslating them, leading to false conclusions. These are the tactics these falsifiers of history have done and here you will see exactly how for each video their lies are exposed.
VIDEO 1 (Arrian, Part 1)
One of the first cherry-picked texts from the first propaganda video is a mistranslation:
“There was a violent struggle. Darius’ Greeks fought to thrust the Macedonians back into the water and save the day for their left wing already in retreat… The fight was further embittered by the old racial rivalry of Greek and Macedonian“. (SOURCE: Arrian: “The Campaigns of Alexander“, Pengiun books, USA, 1987,р. 119).
This is most likely a mistranslation that leads to a serious misunderstanding and falsification from the known propagandists. In many cases, the ancient Greek texts have not been translated correctly, creating false impressions.
Let’s see why this is a mistranslation as used by Slavic nationalist propaganda:
The original ancient text under scrutiny is: “καὶ τοῖς γένεσι τῷ τε Ἑλληνικῷ καὶ τῷ Μακεδονικῷ φιλοτιμίας ἐνέπεσεν ἐς ἀλλήλους.”
Considering the word “γένεσι”, according to the Oxford Classical dictionary, the word ‘γένος’ has multiple meanings. Let’s take Oxford’s definition:
The word genos was widely and variously used in Greek of all periods to denote ‘species’, ‘genus’, ‘sort’, ‘category’, ‘birth’, ‘kin’, ‘race’, ‘lineage’, ‘family’, ‘generation’, ‘posterity’, etc. Probably from its use to denote (noble) lineage’ (already in Theognis 894, Pindar, Ol. 6 and 8, and frequently in Herodotus), it came to be used in 4th-cent. bce Athenian orators and inscriptions in a quasi-precise sense to denote a set of families or individuals who identified themselves as a group by the use of a collective plural name. Some such names were geographical (e.g. Salaminioi; see salamis (1); sunium) or occupational (e.g. Bouzygai, ‘ox-yokers’), but most were patronymic in form (e.g. Amynandridai, Titakidai), implying the descent of their members—the gennētai—from a fictive or real common male ancestor. About 60 such groups are known, some attested only in the lexicographers, who typically define them as (name): genos of true-born (ithageneis) at Athens’
Based on the above, the translation of the word ‘γένεσι’ to ‘race’ may be extreme, since there is considerable debate on whether the Macedonians were Greek or not. Even Borza who is skeptical, considers that the Macedonians became Hellenized by that time.
The meaning of this particular passage is therefore quite different than the one portrayed by the propagandists. Unfortunately this error in translation has propagated in various English websites, but it does not mean ‘racial rivalry’ but rather they loved honour so much that this drove these groups upon each other. In short, during the battle and while the Macedonians were trying to equal Alexander’s accomplishments and not stain the honour of the phallanx, which was ‘unbeatable’… the ‘love for honor’ drove the two groups upon each other.
Regarding text that mentions “Greeks and Macedonians” and the like, it is meant for clarity and in no way does the author mean to say that the Macedonians were not Greek. Similar examples are the following texts involving other Hellenic tribes:
“When the Athenians attacked the Greeks…” <Thucydides, “History of the Peloponnesian War, 3.62”>
“Agesilaos was accused… that he exposed the city as an accomplice in the crimes against the Hellenes.” <Plutarchos, Agesilaos 26>
“Thus, the Hellenes were wondering what the state of the Lakedaimonian army would be had it been commanded by Agesilaos or… the old Leonidas.” <Plutarchos, Agis 14>
“Since the Lakedaimonians made peace with all the Hellenes, they were in war only with the Thebans…” <Plutarchos, Pelopidas 20>
“He soothed the Athenians’ pride by promising them… that the Hellenes would accept their leadership…” <Plutarchos, Themistokles 7>
More examples can be found here.
VIDEO 2 (Arrian, Part 2)
In this video the Slavic Macedonist propaganda mainly points out texts from Arrian where essentially he wrote things like “Macedonians and Greeks” which are wrongfully interpreted that Arrian distinguished the Macedonians from the Greeks. This erroneous interpretation is very common among other writers as well (this will be seen later), but the reader must realize that the ancient writers’ intention wasn’t to say that the Macedonians were foreigners! The unfamiliarity of propagandists with works of ancient Greek literature deprives them from understanding their mentality and their exaggerated regionalism that were frequently expressed through such kind of statements. We can read, e.g. in Thucydides history of the Peloponnesian war,3.62.2 that “just as afterwards when the Athenians attacked the Hellenes”. More examples can be found here.
While in 3.13.1 from Thucydides history again, the Mytilineans describe their revolt against the Athenians as follows: “and now, upon the Boeotians inviting us, we at once responded to the call, and decided upon a twofold revolt, from the Hellenes and from the Athenians”
The Spartan general Lysander is described by Plutarch as follows: “This he did alike in the cities which had been hostile, and in those which had become his allies, and sailed along in leisurely fashion, in a manner establishing for himself the supremacy over Hellas. For in his appointments of the rulers he had regard neither to birth nor wealth, but put control of affairs into the hands of his comrades and partisans, and made them masters of rewards and punishments. He also took part himself in many massacres, and assisted in driving out the enemies of his friends. Thus he gave the Greeks no worthy specimen of Lacedaemonian rule.” (Plutarch,”Lysander”,13.1)
If we had to adopt propagandist’s logic, then neither Athenians, Mytilineans and Lacedaemonians were Greeks!!!!!
Finally the second part ends with another misinterpretation where they cherry-picked the text “Besides, he did not wish to deliver over to the foreigners, on so unstable element the advantage which the Macedonians derived from their skill and courage” and attribute the word ‘foreigner’ to the Greeks, when clearly the text is referring to the Persians who were assisted by the fleets of the Cyprians and Phoenicians.
VIDEO 3 (Arrian, Part 3)
Again, this video refers to some texts where allegedly Arrian mentions the Macedonians separately from Greeks. This was thoroughly explained above in the other two videos. The unfamiliarity of propagandists with works of ancient Greek literature deprives them from understanding their mentality and their exaggerated regionalism that were frequently expressed through such kind of statements.
Of particular note, however, is one text in the propaganda video of episode 3, which is this: “In twenty days he fortified the city which he was projecting, and settled in it some of the Grecian mercenaries and those of the neighbouring barbarians who volunteered to take part in the settlement, as well as some of the Macedonians from his army who were now unfit for military service.” (SOURCE: Arrian, Book 4a,).
Notice that Arrian used the word barbarian in the same sentence as the word Macedonian. Well, if the Macedonians weren’t Greeks, they were barbarians, right? So why did he distinguish between barbarians and Macedonians? Obviously because the Macedonians were not barbarians, but they were Greek!
Here are texts from the same author proving that the ancient Macedonians were Greek: ARRIAN
So as we can see, Slavic Macedonist propaganda with regards to Arrian is trying to make us see pink elephants.
VIDEO 4 (Agrippa and Ampelius)
The Slavic Macedonist propaganda video is trying to convince us that Agrippa II was distinguishing the Macedonians from the Greeks by presenting the following fragmented text:
“What confidence is it that raises you up to oppose the Romans? Perhaps it will be said, it is hard to endure slavery. Yes; but how much harder is this for the Greeks… It is the same with the Macedonians, who have more just reason to claim their liberty than you have.“.(SOURCE: Josephus Flavius, “War of the Jews”, II, 16,4).
The author is not saying that the Macedonians were not Greeks here, but rather is referring to a Greek tribe separately just like he would refer to Athenians and Spartans in this text from the same paragraph before the one presented above! In fact Agrippa is talking about Greeks in this paragraph:
“While those Athenians, who, in order to preserve the liberty of Greece, did once set fire to their own city; who pursued Xerxes, that proud prince, when he sailed upon the land, and walked upon the sea, and could not be contained by the seas, but conducted such an army as was too broad for Europe; and made him run away like a fugitive in a single ship, and brake so great a part of Asia at the Lesser Salamis; are yet at this time servants to the Romans; and those injunctions which are sent from Italy become laws to the principal governing city of Greece. Those Lacedemonians also who got the great victories at Thermopylae. and Platea, and had Agesilaus [for their king], and searched every corner of Asia, are contented to admit the same lords. Those Macedonians also, who still fancy what great men their Philip and Alexander were, and see that the latter had promised them the empire over the world, these bear so great a change, and pay their obedience to those whom fortune hath advanced in their stead.”
What more proof do we need from this author to prove that he considered the Macedonians as Greeks?
Well, let’s present another paragraph from the same author (SOURCE: Josephus Flavius, “War of the Jews”, II, 18.7) where clearly he identifies the Macedonians as Grecians (Greeks) and on top of that Alexander the Great calls these Jews Macedonians as a reward!
“But for Alexandria, the sedition of the people of the place against the Jews was perpetual, and this from that very time when Alexander [the Great], upon finding the readiness of the Jews in assisting him against the Egyptians, and as a reward for such their assistance, gave them equal privileges in this city with the Grecians themselves; which honorary reward continued among them under his successors, who also set apart for them a particular place, that they might live without being polluted, and were thereby not so much intermixed with foreigners as before; they also gave them this further privilege, that they should be called Macedonians.”
This proves that Slavic Macedonist propaganda is false.
AMPELIUS (III c.)
This author, for whom nothing is known, lived centuries after the death of Alexander the Great. In his text he mentions only once separately the Greeks and the Macedonians.
Although this has been explained in the other videos above, one must also realize that the Romans had separated their provinces as Macedonia and Achaea (Greece), so references to these people can also be perceived to be done on an administrative basis and not on an ethnic basis. Besides, even the proponents of the theory that Macedonians weren’t Greek agree that they became Hellenised during Alexander’s era, so this Roman’s text really has no substance.
Another ‘hypothesis’ of the Slavic propaganda shot down.
VIDEO 5 (Aeschines)
Propaganda video #5 gives a whole new meaning to ridiculous. First it addresses a a statement from Aeschines:
“…After this, the ministers of Philip arrived at Athens; ours were still abroad, labouring to stir up the Greeks against Macedonia.”
“Greeks against Macedonia” is a literary distinction and not an ethnic distinction. Similar examples can be found here: Macedonia and Greece, the false distinction.
Subsequently, the propaganda video says the following:
Aeschines lists the tribes that made the Council. They were the following: “The Tessalians, Boeotians, Dorians, Ionians, Perrhaebi, Magnetes, Dolopians, Locrians, Oetaeans, Phtiotians, Malians, and Phocians”.(SOURCE: Aeshines, “On the Embassy”, 2.116)
As we can see the Macedonians are NOT mentioned as members of this all-Greek council.
The video is WRONG! Macedonians are Dorians! This is well proven not only by ancient writers but also archaeologically (e.g. the Pella curse tablet). So the video fails miserably in its propaganda.
After Aeschines, the video tries to convince us that Macedonians were ethnically separate from the rest of the Greeks via some cherry-picked text of an anonymous early Christian author who uses the terms ‘Macedonians’ and ‘Achaeans’ to signify an ethnic distinction. The author of the video conveniently neglects to inform us that the Romans had administrative provinces of ‘Macedonia’ and ‘Achaea’, so any reference to these terms is purely on an ADMINISTRATIVE basis and not an ethnic one. Another failed attempt of the video to promote its propaganda has been exposed.
VIDEO 6 (Appian)
“You forget also that there are many barbarous tribes on the border of Macedonia, who would make easy incursions into Greece if the Macedonian kings were taken away.” (Appian, Macedonian Affairs)
Here we have two indications in one sentence on the Greekness of the Macedonians. First, if Macedonians were barbarians themselves, how could barbarous tribes be on their border? Second, the barbarian tribes would make easy incursions into Greece and not Macedonia? Strange… unless…. of course! Macedonians were Greeks.
VIDEO 7 (Alexander the Great)
“Your ancestors came to Macedonia and the rest of Greece and did us great harm, though we had done them no prior injury. I have been appointed leader of the Greeks, and wanting to punish the Persians I have come to Asia, which I took from you…”
“There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is their cause from ours! They will be fighting for pay — and not much of at that; we, on the contrary, shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it.”
(Addressing his troops prior to the Battle of Issus, as quoted in Anabasis Alexandri by historian Arrian, Book II, 7)
or these words, addressing the dead Greeks of the Battle of Chaeronea:
“Holy shadows of the dead, I’m not to blame for your cruel and bitter fate, but the accursed rivalry which brought sister nations and brother people, to fight one another. I do not feel happy for this victory of mine. On the contrary, I would be glad, brothers, if I had all of you standing here next to me, since we are united by the same language, the same blood and the same visions.”
(Historiae Alexandri Magni, 6.3.11, by Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus).
So once again, an expensive video production full of propaganda is exposed very easily.
VIDEO 8 (Claudianus)
Propaganda video #8 quotes only one sentence from Claudianus which essentially reads :“…Philip held the cities of Greece. Liberty fell in front of the attack of the Macedonian gold.”
The propagandists in their pathetic attempt to convince us that the Macedonians were not Greeks, take this sentence and interpret it as an ethnic distinction when in fact it is a literary distinction similar to the ones we see for Athenians, Spartans, etc., as explain in this link: Macedonia and Greece.
Then the propaganda video goes into another author, Aemilius Sura. We quote what is said in the video that tries to convince us that Macedonians were ethnically non-Greek:
“The Assyrians were the first of all races to hold world power, then the Medes, and after them the Persians, and then the Macedonians. Then through the defeat of Kings Philip and Antiochus, of Macedonian origin, following closely upon the overthrow of Carthage, the world power passed to the Roman people.”(SOURCE: Marcus Velleius Paterculus,“Roman History”, I, 6).
From this authentic quote we can clearly see that the Roman historian Aemilus Sura also treated the Macedonians as a separate nation (mentioning them side by side with other nations such as: the Romans, the Assyrians, the Medes and the Persians) that once ruled the world.
How irrational! So from this quote they deduce that the Macedonians were not Greek! We let the reader judge for himself on the absurdity of the conclusion.
Then, the video talks about Cicero.
In his work “In Pisonem”, Cicero clearly mentions the borders of the Greek lands in his time. Addressing Epicurus, Cicero writes that according to the law of Caesar:“…all Achaia, and Thessaly, and Athens, in short the whole of Greece, was made over to you.”(SOURCE: Cicero, “In Pisonem”, 37).
We can see that for Cicero it was very clear that the Greek lands consisted of Achaia (a region around Athens) and Thessaly. Macedonia is not mentioned as a “Greek land” at all
So under this logic, the Peloponnese or Epirus or any of the islands were not Greek.
Finally, the video ends with Clement of Alexandria, where a literary distinction is made such as those that we saw previously.
VIDEO 9 (Coenus and Dicaearchus)
This is an easy video to refute. It tries to convince us again that the literary distinction of ‘Macedonia and Greece’ is an ethnic distinction. This has been proven false here: Macedonia and Greece.
In their desperate attempt to prove their fantasies, they (accidentally?) included text which proves that Macedonians were Greeks:
“The Macedonian soldiers and the OTHER Greeks who still continued to share our labours and dangers, have either perished in the battles, become unfit for war on account of their wounds, or been left behind in the different parts of Asia”.
Why did Coenus use the word ‘other’ instead of omitting it completely if the Macedonians were non-Greeks? So we see here an excellent example of the people who made their propaganda videos shooting themselves in their own foot!
The video continues with a quote (which we could not find and confirm) from Dicaearchus’ works: ““I therefore draw the limits of Hellas at the country of Magnesians, to the Vale of Tempe. Above Tempe towards Olympus, is the region of the Macedonians”. Strabo has disagreed with Dicaearchus’ geography in many instances, claiming that Dicaearchus didn’t even travel to the areas he describes! In fact, Strabo emphatically writes “Macedonia, of course, is a part of Greece”. For argument’s sake though, if we consider for a moment that Dicaearchus is correct, then isn’t it strange that the Greek gods reside on Olympus, which is outside of Dicaearchus’ Greece?
From the above, the obvious conclusions is that Macedonia is Greek.
VIDEO 10 (Cornelius Nepos, Dionysus Caliphontis, Dexippus)
CORNELIUS NEPOS (I c. BC)
Cornelius Nepos was a Gaul whose works were not preserved. However, the video goes on to talk about him writing that Eumenes wasn’t accepted by Macedonians because he was a foreigner. The video arbitrarily baptizes Eumenes as a Greek when in fact Cardia was Thracian under the control of Militos and subsequently Athens. Thracians were non-Greek and obviously also foreigners to Macedonians. Therefore the video proves nothing.
DIONYSUS CALIPHONTIS (I c. BC)
The video continues with by saying:
“Abracia is the first city in Greece… Greece is continuous from Ambracia to the Peneus.”(SOURCE: “Memorandum on the Ancient Boundaries of Greece” British documents of foreign affairs, Part I, Series F, Europe 1848 – 1914, Vol. 14 “Greece, 1847 – 1914”, University publications of America).
This too presents a valid testimony that not only the Macedonians, but the Epirotes were also not treated as a Greek nation by Dionysus Caliphontes, and by other authors as well.
Now how can Dionysus time travel ahead almost two millennia to write this in a British document is a bit crazy. But everyone can expect this kind of logic from people who regard as top archaeologist one of their own who claims he is a time traveler (Pasko Kuzman)
DEXIPPUS (III c.)
The video concludes with an excerpt from Dexippus where he makes a geographic distinction between Macedonia and Greece. Note that it was after the death of Alexander the Great who formed the great Macedonian empire so a separate mention was logical. Why does the video insist that this was some sort of ethnic distinction? The answer is obvious: to promote their propaganda.
VIDEO 11 (Demosthenes)
This video presents Demosthenes who is the strongest card that propagandist sites play when confronted with facts about the Greekness of the ancient Macedonians. Fortunately, we will be short in this, because the video has unintentionally done most of the job for us by saying:
Among other things, he is famous for his anti-Macedonism and this segment was very important in his activities. Actually, Demosthenes led the Athens resistance against Macedonia.
So here we have a politician who hated the increasing power of the Macedonians. Ancient Greek history is full of conflicts among Greek city-states in their power-play games.
When he called Philip a barbarian he was obviously intending to insult him or stir the Athenians against the Macedonians. Typical politician ploys.
Demosthenes had even called another Athenian as a barbarian.
And yet, though he has thus become the possessor of privileges to which he has no claim, and has found a fatherland which is reputed to be of all states the most firmly based upon its laws, he seems utterly unable to submit to those laws or abide by them. His [i.e: Meidias, an Athenian] true, native barbarism and hatred of religion drive him on by force and betray the fact that he treats his present rights as if they were not his own—as indeed they are not. ” (Demosthenes, “Against Meidias”, 21.150)
So we ask the reader: how trustworthy can a politician’s words be?
We remind the reader on the use of the word barbarian here: http://macedoniansweregreeks.com/the-word-barbarian/
It is important to note that Demosthenes himself called Philip’s son, Alexander the Great, a Greek (pseudo-Callesthenes chapter 2.4 “Alexander, who is a Greek”)!!! So he is contradicting himself. If Philip were non-Greek, wouldn’t that make Alexander also non-Greek?
So we have:
- Philip saying that he is Greek.
- Demosthenes saying that Alexander, Philip’s son, is Greek.
- Demosthenes saying that Philip is a non-Greek.
What conclusion can one make of this contradiction? In order to resolve this contradiction, it is highly possible after reading the original ancient Greek text (not the translations) that Demosthenes was calling Philip’s conduct and not the man himself as non-Greek.
Finally, it’s also worthwhile to note that Demosthenes in his works included a letter from Philip where Philip basically places himself with the ‘rest of the Greeks’ (Demosthenes, “Philip’s Letter to Athenians”, Speeches, 12.6).
VIDEO 12 (Dio Chrysostom)
Propaganda video #12 is trying to convince us that Dio Chrysostom considered the Macedonians as non-Greeks.
One of its arguments is using a story of a historian who lived during the 2nd century AD, describing the mythical origin of the Macedonians and compare their love for music to the contemporary Slavs who call themselves ‘Macedonians’! Obviously the video neglects the origins described by Herodotus and that the Macedonians themselves prided in being descendants of Makedon, the son of Zeus and Thyia. Alexander the Great himself claimed to be the descendant of a Greek hero, Achilles.
Another argument is the literary or political distinction of Macedonians and Greeks without even considering that the Romans had split the Greek peninsula to two administrative regions: Macedonia and Achaea (Greece). Please read more about this type of distinction here.
Finally, to settle this once and for all, Dio Chrysostom obviously considered the ancient Macedonians as Greek when we investigate his works. For example, in the Fourth Discourse on Kingship he writes:
Again, he himself required huge sums of gold and silver to carry out any of his projects; and what is more, if he expected to keep the Macedonians and the other Greeks submissive, must time and again curry the favour of their rulers and the general populace by words gifts;
And again in his Discourses: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Dio_Chrysostom/Discourses/4*.html
Now perhaps you kings are also doing something like that: each of you has playmates — the eager followers on his side — he his Persians and the other peoples of Asia, and you your Macedonians and the other Greeks.
Clearly by using the word ‘other’, Dio Chrysostom includes the Macedonians among the Greeks!
VIDEO 13 (Diodorus of Sicily, Dionysius of Halicarnassus)
Diodorus of Sicily
This video does not provide anything new. It is well known that ancient Greeks fought amongst themselves quite often. Therefore, trying to present some Greeks wanting to fight against Macedonians cannot be used as ‘proof’ that Macedonians were not Greeks.
As a side-note, it is interesting how the video neglects to observe that in the text they present “The Lacedaemonians (which meant the Spartans) thought that the time had come to undertake a war and issued an appeal to the Greeks to unite in defence of their freedom”, the author makes a distinction between Spartans and Greeks. Obviously under the propagandists’ logic this would mean that it is an ethnic distinction and the Spartans weren’t Greeks….
In fact, Diodorus of Sicily knew that the ancient Macedonians were Greeks and this is expressed in many of his works as described here:
“Such was the end of Philip … He had ruled 24 years. He is known to fame as one who with but the slenderest resources to support his claim to a throne won for himself the greatest empire among the Hellenes, while the growth of his position was not due so much to his prowess in arms as to his adroitness and cordiality in diplomacy.”
(Diodoros of Sicily 16.95.1-2)
For more examples of such texts please click this link: http://macedoniansweregreeks.com/diodorus/
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
The video wrongly states that the Macedonians took away the freedom from the Greeks, after defeating them in a battle at Chaeronea:
“And the Thebans and Athenians through the single disaster at Chaeronea were deprived by the Macedonians not only of the leadership of Greece but at the same time of the liberty they had inherited from their ancestors.” (SOURCE: “Roman Antiquites”, Book II, 17).
The text actually says that the Macedonians took away the freedom of the Athenians and Thebans, not the Greeks. It’s also interesting to note that it indirectly infers that the Macedonians became leaders of the Greeks.
In fact, Dionysius of Halicarnassus knew that the ancient Macedonians were Greeks and this is expressed explicitly in his works:
“Having agreed through heralds upon the time when they would join in battle, they descended from their camps and took up their positions as follows: King Pyrrhus gave the Macedonian phalanx the first place on the right wing and placed next to it the Italiot mercenaries from Tarentum; then the troops from Ambracia and after them the phalanx of Tarentines equipped with white shields, forced by the allied force of Bruttians and Lucanians; in the middle of the battle-line he stationed the Thesprotians and Chaonians; next to them the mercenaries of the Aetolians, Acarnanians and Athamanians, and finally the Samnites, who constituted the left wing. Of the horse, he stationed the Samnite, Thessalian and Bruttian squadrons and the Tarentine mercenary force upon the right wing, and the Ambraciot, Lucanian and Tarentine squadrons and the Greek mercenaries, consisting of Acarnanians, Aetolians, Macedonians and Athamanians, on the left. The light-armed troops and the elephants he divided into two groups and placed them behind both wings, at a reasonable distance, in a position slightly elevated above the plain. He himself, surrounded by the royal agema, as it was called, of picked horsemen, about two thousand in number, was outs the battle-line, so as to aid promptly any of his troops in turn that might be hard pressed.
VIDEO 14 (Dio Cassius, Ephorus, Eutropius)
Propaganda video #14 tries to convince viewers that Dio Cassius made an ethic distinction between “Greeks and Macedonians” when in fact it is a literary distinction as explained here: Macedonia and Greece, the false distinction.
Afterward, it takes the writing of Strabo who quotes Ephorus and mistranslates it purposely! It is a blatant mistranslation to make the viewer think that Ephorus in Strabo’s writings was excluding Macedonia from the Greek world. The actual translation is this:
“According to Ephorus, Acarnania is the commencement of Greece on the west, for it is the first country which lies contiguous to the Epirotic nations. As this author follows the coast in his measurements, and begins from thence, considering the sea the most important guide of topographical description, (for otherwise he might have placed the beginning of Greece in Macedonia and Thessaly,) so ought I, observing the natural character of places, to keep in view the sea as a mark by which I should direct the course of my description.”
Note that the text in bold, clearly indicates that Macedonia is at the beginning of Greece, i.e. it is Greek. For the complete translation please refer to the Tufts University Perseus digital library.
Strabo, of course, has more quotes saying that Macedonia is a part of Greece.
Finally, Eutropius’ writings indicate that Macedonia is Greek. For example he says:
“The consuls, together with Pompey, the whole Senate, and all the nobility, fled from the city, and crossed over into Greece; and in Epirus, Macedonia, and Achaea, the Senate, under Pompey as their general, prepared war against Caesar.” [Eutropius, Short History 6.19]
This implies that Macedonia, as well as Epirus and Achaea, are a part of Greece.
The propaganda video, however, neglects this and attempts to convince the viewer that Eutropius made an ethic distinction between “Greeks and Macedonians” when in fact it is a literary distinction as explained here: Macedonia and Greece, the false distinction
VIDEO 15 (Eusebius of Ceasarea, Flamininus)
Propaganda video #15 tries to convince the viewers that literary distinctions of Greece and Macedonia are ethnic distinctions by using a couple of cherry-picked texts from Eusebius. Unfortunately for the propagandists, Eusebius makes it quite clear that Macedonians were Greeks:
this text translates to: ” This hegemony of Macedonians, being Greeks and their language general”
Eusebius also in his works indicates Macedonians who participated in the Olympics (where Greeks participated):
113th [328 B.C.] – Cliton of Macedonia, stadion race
122nd [292 B.C.] – Antigonus of Macedonia, stadion race
128th [268 B.C.] – Seleucus of Macedonia, stadion race
He also indicates that Macedonians were Greeks in this text:
“68. If however, these things are not known to all; yet Who, of those that are fond of reading of the affairs of the Greeks, can be ignorant of them?—-of the war (for |129 example) of the Peloponnesians and Athenians, of which Thucydides is the writer?—-how Greeks warred with Greeks?—-how they subdued the Potidaeans?—-how they trampled on the Thebans and Plataeans?—-how the Thracians and Macedonians at one time assisted the Athenians, and at another became their enemies?—-how the Athenians reduced Corinth, and desolated the country of the Epirotae and Traezenii?—-how they wasted the Lacedemonians; and these again, suffered in like manner from the Lacedemonians when they invaded Attica, and depopulated the country of the Athenians?”
and this text:
“…..the armies of the Greeks are about to issue forth from the whole land of the Macedonians….”
Finally the text tries to use Polybius’ Histories where he describes Flamininus using a ‘distinction’ between Greeks and Macedonians; again, this is literary because why would then Polybius include the following text from the Treaty between Philip V of Macedon and Hannibal where it clearly states that Macedonia is Greek by using expressions like ‘Macedonia and the rest of Greece’?
“Here, and Apollo: of the god of the Carthaginians, Hercules, and Iolaus: of Ares, Triton, Poseidon: of the gods that accompany the army, and of the sun, moon, and earth: of rivers, harbours, waters: of all the gods who rule Carthage: of all the gods who rule Macedonia and the rest of Greece: of all the gods of war that are witnesses to this oath.”
“…and with whomsoever in this country we may hereafter form such compact, be supported by King Philip and the Macedonians, and all OTHER Greeks in alliance with them.”
“On their parts also King Philip and the Macedonians, and such OTHER Greeks as are his allies, shall be supported and protected by the Carthaginians now in this army…”
Clearly Philip V and Hannibal knew that the Macedonians were Greeks. Who are we to dispute it 2200 years later?
VIDEO 16 (Herodian)
Not much more can be said about this propaganda video, except that it makes further attempts to convince the viewer that Herodian made an ethic distinction between “Greeks and Macedonians” when in fact it is a literary distinction as explained here: Macedonia and Greece, the false distinction
We don’t need to waste further effort with this video’s feeble attempt at propaganda.
VIDEO 17 (Isocrates, Marcus Velleius Paterculus)
Propaganda video #17 first tries to convince viewers that Isocrates, a pro-Macedonian of all people, would consider them as non-Greeks! It first cherry-picks the following text from his letter to Philip, section 19:
 More than that, he has about him the ablest men in Macedonia, who, however inexperienced they may be in other matters, are likely to know better than you do what is expedient for him. Furthermore, you will find that there are many Hellenes living in his country, who are not unknown to fame or lacking in intelligence, but men by sharing whose counsel he has not diminished his kingdom but has, on the contrary, accomplished deeds which match his dreams.
The video assumes that the Greeks (Hellenes) living in Macedonia is a minority when in fact it is clearly stated in this text that many Greeks live in Macedonia. Nowhere does Isocrates state or infer that Macedonians were non-Greeks.
It is laughable that this propaganda video tries to twist Isocrates’ words to convince the viewers that he (Isocrates) thought the Macedonians as non-Greeks when he himself writes (“To Philip”, 5.127):
“and, while it is only natural for the other descendants of Heracles, and for men who are under the bonds of their polities and laws, to cleave fondly to that state in which they happen to dwell, it is your privilege, as one who has been blessed with untrammeled freedom,1 to consider all Hellas your fatherland, as did the founder of your race, and to be as ready to brave perils for her sake as for the things about which you are personally most concerned”
It is clear from the above that Isocrates without any doubt calls Philip a Greek and that his race, or rather the founder of his race, was also Greek!
One can check more texts from Isocrates here which clearly show that he regarded the Macedonians as Greeks.
The second and minor part of the propaganda video is about Marcus Velleius Paterculus. Again, the cherry-picked text in this video is not about the distinction of ethnicities. In fact, the Romans had divided the regions into provinces: Achaea, Macedonia Prima, Macedonia Secunda, Epirus Vetus and Epirus Nova. Therefore, such mentions are clearly referring to people living in those provinces and is not an ethnic distinction.
Once more, another propaganda video is exposed for its inaccuracies and twisting of the truth.
VIDEO 18 (Titus Livius, Zosimus)
Propaganda video #18 is trying to use the texts of Titus Livius to convince us that the Macedonians were not Greeks. It uses a quote but twists its meaning by saying that there is a racial distinction between the Greeks and the Macedonians when in fact Livius was talking about the Athenians and not all the Greeks:
“…The people of Athens and their allies, their armies and fleets, should so often curse and execrate Philip, his children and his kingdom, his military and naval forces, and the whole race and name of the Macedonians.” (SOURCE: Titus Livius, “History of Rome”, 31, 44).
Besides, it is well-known that the Athenians didn’t like the Macedonians because they lost their power to them. Of course, this does not mean that the Macedonians were not Greeks.
Titus Livius indicates that the Macedonians were Greek in this text that the propaganda video conveniently omits:
“[p. 347] 29. When the day arrived on which he had ordered ten leading men from each city to be at Amphipolis, and all official dispatches which had been filed anywhere and the royal money to be brought in, Paulus with the ten commissioners took his official seat surrounded by the whole crowd of Macedonians.  Although the latter were used to a royal court, yet the ceremonial of a new master was frightening as it met their eyes —the consul’s bench, his entrance after the way had been cleared, the herald, and the orderly, all things novel to their eyes and ears, which might have inspired terror in allies, to say nothing of conquered enemies.  After the herald had commanded silence Paulus announced in Latin the decisions of the senate, as well as his own, made by the advice of his council.  This announcement was translated into Greek and repeated by Gnaeus Octavius the praetor —for he too was present.”
Why would the announcement be translated into Greek? Because there was a crowd of Macedonians. Hence the Macedonians were Greeks, as is confirmed by Livi’s other text:
“Aetolians, Acarnanians, Macedonians, men of the same language” (T. Livius XXXI,29, 15),
for which the propaganda video is making a lot of effort to discredit the Greekness of the Aetolians and Acarnanians. It makes some vague reference for example to ancient texts that the Aetolians weren’t Greek, without even mentioning which ones exactly! It is well-known however from archaeological evidence and historical texts that the Aetolians were indeed Greeks, therefore the Macedonians were also Greek since they spoke the same language.
Afterwards, the video presents Zosimus, who lived half a millennia after Titus Livius. It is quite funny and ironic at the same time, since the same video stressed earlier that Titus Livius lived a century after the events he describes in order to discredit him but ignores how far in the future Zosimus lived beyond the events he describes. In any case, Zosimus does not make a racial distinction between the Macedonians and Greeks, but rather a political or literary distinction as explained here: Macedonia and Greece – the false distinction.
VIDEO 19 (Quintus Curtius Rufus)
Propaganda video #19 makes a deliberate attempt to mislead viewers. Ancient sources do not speak about Macedonian as a non-Greek language and in fact in the Philotas affair it becomes even clearer Macedonian is a Greek dialect, since Philotas explicitly states that using Koine would make his speech “easier to understand“, indicating that Macedonian dialect was not incomprehensible to the non-Macedonians, but a bit more difficult to understand. In fact, the whole incident shows the Macedonian dialect was not that different from the Koine Greek and could be understood even though it had some difficulty by other Greeks. This also explains the quick disappearance of the Macedonian dialect and the quick adoption of Koine Greek from Macedonians.
Archaeological evidence, such as the Pella curse tablet, also proves that the Macedonian language was in fact a rough doric Greek dialect.
Spartan troops also spoke a form of Doric dialect (Thuc. 3-112), a dialect which Athenians could not fully cope with. This does not mean Spartans are not Greeks or Doric is not a Greek dialect.
In any case, it is clear that Quintus Curtius Rufus regarded the ancient Macedonians as Greeks as indicated in his works here: Quintus Curtius Rufus
VIDEO 20 (Thrasymachus, Praxagoras, Saint Augustine)
Here of course it would be of tremendous help, if we had Thrasymachus’ full text in the original, instead of having a quote out of context like in propaganda video #20.
The excerpt shows that Thrasymachus fashioned his line after Euripides for a dramatic impression.
“Shall we being Greeks, be slaves to the barbarians?” (“Έλληνες όντες Βαρβάροις δουλεύσομεν;”)
In a period where Thessalians faced many difficulties with Macedonians, the use of a dramatic-rhetorical question may would have an appeal to some Larisseans.
Let’s examine carefully the background of this quote. First observation is that Thrasymachus called barbarian only King Archelaus and there is a reason behind that:
Archelaus II, king of Macedon from circa 413 to 399 BC, is famous, or rather infamous, for the unfavourable judgement passed on him by Plato in the Gorgias. Archelaus serves as Plato’s paradigm of an arch-criminal whose incurably corrupt soul dooms him to suffer unending punishment in Hades, an eternal object lesson for others ( 525b-d). He is doomed to such a fate in Plato’s view because of the way he cut his way to the throne.
As Plato tells his story, Archelaus was an illegitimate son of Perdiccas (king of Macedon from circa 452 to 413 BC) by a slave owned by Perdiccas’ brother Alcetas, which meant that in justice Archelaus was Alcetas’ slave (see Laws XI. 930d). Though it is not stated explicitly, it is implied that Alcetas had the first claim to succeed Perdiccas, and Alcetas’ son Alexander the next claim after Alcetas. Archelaus began his ascent to the throne by inviting his uncle and his cousin to his house and then murdering them–murders made more horrible in Greek eyes by two facts: they were murders of a master and his son by their slave and of two guests by their host, actions so contemptible in the eyes of other Greeks that only a Barbarian (in the cultural meaning) could have done. To these two victims Archelaus added a third, his 7-year-old half-brother, the legitimate son of Perdiccas, whom he pushed into a well and drowned. ( Gorg. 4 70d-4 71d.)
Another side of Archelaus complex personality is given by Aristoteles. The arch-criminal, dynamic warlord, Archelaus of Macedon now appears as a lecher. For this is what the complaints of Crataeas and Hellanocrates amount to. Hellanocrates complained that Archelaus engaged in sexual intercourse with him (”used his youth”) out of insolence (hubris) rather than erotic desire (erōtikē epithymia). He was irked, in other words, to discover that for Archelaus he was just another sexual conquest and not an object of passionate love.
The Royal House of Macedon, which Archelaus was a member, was widely accepted in the Greek world as being Greek. Therefore in which manner does Thrasymachus use the term, if not in an ethnic one?
In order to trace relevant examples we will first dig among the Greek myths. The first valid evidence comes from the story of King Tereus. Tereus initially was a Megarian king, thus being Greek.
His bloodthirsty story with Prokne and Philomela, including his Marriage with one of them, his rape of his wife’s sister, the cutting out of Philomela’s tongue and his pursuit of the Athenian sisters, forced his redefinition as a vile barbarian. Hence in the time of Sophocles (late fifth century BC), Tereus who was initially a Greek, was depicted as a Barbarian Thracian, because his crimes were unthinkable for a Greek.
Similarly, in Euripides‘ war play Trojan Women, we can find Greeks who behave like barbarians and on the other hand noble barbarians who behave honorably, shaming Greeks.
We are receivers of the same message in Athenaios Deipnosophistes (VIII 350a), where Stratonicus the harp-player was asked “πότερα Βοιωτοί βαρβαρώτεροι…ή θετταλοί, Ηλείους έφησεν” meaning “who were the greatest Barbarians, the Boeotians or the Thessalians” and he replied “the Eleans“.
Beoatians, Thessalians and Eleans were undoubtedly Greeks. Hence the conclusion is inescapable. For all the above reasons – especially the cold blood murders of the Macedonian Royal members – Archelaus the king of Macedon, was presented in the eyes of rest of Greeks as a total immoral and culturally inferior person similar to a barbarian. Hence like the intriguing evidence suggests, namely the story of Tereus, Euripides and Stratonicus, the use of the term “Barbarian” is limited to Behavioral rather than Racial Concepts.
Praxagoras of Athens
The propaganda video quotes here another false distinction between Greece and Macedonia. In addition, one must consider that Praxagoras lived in the 4th c AD, when the Romans already had divided the territories they conquered into Macedonia and Achaea (Greece).
Finally, the propaganda video tries to convince us of yet another false distinction between Macedonia and Greece, but fails miserably. We doubt that the video’s author even knows what he was talking about in this part.
VIDEO 21 (Pseudo Scylax, Strabo)
Propaganda video #21 starts by using text from Pseudo Scylax which is translated here: “From here Hellas begins to be continuous as far as Peneios river”. The video suggests that Greece (Hellas) is south of the Peneios river, but in fact the text ignores the word ‘continuous’. Pseudo Scylax had no intention to exclude Mount Olympus or even Macedonia from Hellas. His description before this sentence consisted of non-Greek and Greek regions, i.e. a non-continuous region of ‘Hellas’. After this he describes purely Greek regions and one of them thereafter is called ‘Macedonia’. It is interesting when he describes the geographic region of Macedonia he cites a number of Hellenic cities there. Also, one must also note that the author of this text is unknown.
Pseudo-Scylax describes the Macedonians as an ethnos after the Peneios, mentions the Thermaic Gulf, and lists Herakleion as the first city of Macedonia, then Dion, Pydna a Greek city, Methone a Greek city, the river Haliakmon, Aloros a city, the river Lydias, Pella a city and a palace in it and a waterway up the Lydias to it, the river Axios, the river Echedoros, Therme a city, Aineia a Greek city, Cape Pallene, and after an enumeration of the cities of Chalkidike, Arethousa a Greek city, Lake Bolbe, Apollonia a Greek city, and “many other cities of Macedonia in the interior”.
As U. Kahrstedt (“Städte in Makedonien”, Hermes 81 (1953) pp. 91-111) was the first to understand, the distinction between “Greek cities” and “Macedonian cities” or simple “cities” is not ethnological but political. Independent cities are qualified as Greek, while the cities remaining within the Macedonian kingdom have to content themselves with the simple qualification of “cities”.
The list of the theorodokoi of Epidauros confirms the nature of this distinction, for in the section west of the head of the Thermaic Gulf it enumerates only three states: Pydna, Methone and Macedonia. Thus the first, although a city originally Macedonian, is called a “Greek city”, just like the originally Eretrian colony of Methone, because at the time they were both independent from the kingdom and members of the Second Athenian League, while the equally Macedonian Herakleion, Dion, Aloros and Pella were simply styled as “cities”. The Epidaurian theorodokoi visited only “Macedonia”, that is to say the capital of the state, presumably Pella or Aigeai, not because this was the only Greek city of the kingdom and even less because they intended to invite the king only –the invitation, as we have seen, was extended to communities not to persons–, but because there was the seat of the authorities to whom the epangelia had to be made, as at that time, before the reforms of Philip II, the several Macedonian cities did not possess sufficient political latitude to qualify as autonomous cities and to be eligible to participate as such in panhellenic festivals.
Regarding Strabo, the propaganda video goes to great length to try to convince us that Strabo considered the Macedonians as non-Greeks. For example, the video says: “he gives the names of these [Greek] tribes in details (Ionians, Dorians, Aeolians, Athenians and Arcadians). Of course, the Macedonians are not mentioned anywhere among them”. Obviously the creators of the video forget to say that the Macedonians were a Dorian tribe!!
Needless to say, Strabo makes it quite clear: “Macedonia, of course, is a part of Greece” [Strabo, Geography,book 7,Fragm,9]
For many more texts showing that Strabo considered Macedonians were Greeks can be found here: Strabo
VIDEO 22 (Thucydides, Suda)
Propaganda video #22 starts with Thucydides. It uses a text where he omits Macedonians when describing the Hellenic part of the army. However, as Hammond puts it:
Thucydides from Athens drew a firm line between the settled, civilized city-states and ‘many parts of Hellas’ which ‘still follow the old fashion, the Ozolian Locrians for instance, the Aetolians, the Acarnanians and that region of the continent’ (1.5.3), and he compared that old fashion with the barbarian way of life (1.6.6). It is therefore not surprising that he called some tribes of northern Greece ‘barbarians’: Amphilochi (3.112.7), those near Cheimerium (1.47.3; 1.50.3), being Thesproti), Chaones, Molossi, Atintanes, Parauaei, Orestai (2.68.9; 2.80.5; 2.81-2), tribes of Upper Macedonia (4.124.1 and 126.3), and probably the Macedonians proper (4.124.1 and 126.3). As we have seen, inscriptions show beyond dispute that the Molossi and the Macedones were Greek-speaking in the lifetime of Thucydides. He therefore used the term ‘barbaroi’ not in a linguistic sense but in a cultural sense.
There are texts from Thucydides where one can easily deduce that Macedonians were Greeks: Thucydides.
The propaganda video uses the works of an unknown author who lived 13 centuries after the death of Alexander the Great. In the interpretation of the word “kausia” in Suda, this author writes that it was “a kind of barbarian covering for the head”. The video assumes that 13 centuries after the conquests of Alexander the Great, this hat (kausia) was used by the Macedonians and not other peoples to conclude that the Macedonians were non-Greeks. We would like to make two points here:
- The word ‘barbarian’ had multiple meanings and didn’t necessarily mean non-Greek.
- We would rather trust the Persians at the time of Alexander who called the Macedonians as “Greek with sun-hats (kausia)” in an inscription (Yauna Takabara).
VIDEO 23 (Tatian the Assyrian, Sozomenus)
Tatian the Assyrian
Propaganda video #23 refuses to recognize the fact that ancient Macedonians were Dorians. So when Tatian writes: “But, as matters stand, to you alone it has happened not to speak alike even in common intercourse; for the way of speaking among the Dorians is not the same as that of the inhabitants of Attica, nor do the Æolians speak like the Ionians. And, since such a discrepancy exists where it ought not to be, I am at a loss whom to call a Greek. And, what is strangest of all, you hold in honour expressions not of native growth, and by the intermixture of barbaric words have made your language a medley”, the video concludes that Macedonian is not included in this list, therefore it is non-Greek! An absurd conclusion of course, since Macedonians were a Greek doric tribe.
The video make use of yet another political distinction between Macedonians and Greeks to conclude that this is an ethnic distinction. This type of faulty logic has been explained extensively elsewhere.
VIDEOS 24 & 25 (Justin)
Propaganda videos #24 & #25 are just a waste of time to watch. All they do is quote texts from a Roman historian who uses expressions such as ‘Macedonia and Greece’. As explained elsewhere these are clearly political distinctions, not ethnic ones. For more information please read here: false distinction.
In addition, these videos do not account for the fact that by the time Justin wrote his works, the Roman Empire had split these geographical regions to administrative regions of ‘Macedonia’ and ‘Achaea’ (Greece), a fact which strengthens the argument of political distinction in his writings.
Besides, how does the author of these propaganda videos explain the following text of Justin where he clearly states that Macedonia was Greek?
Caranus also came to Emathia with a large band of Greeks, being instructed by an oracle to seek a home in Macedonia. Hero, following a herd of goats running from a downpour, he seized the city of Edessa, the inhabitants being taken unawares because of heavy rain and dense fog. Remembering the oracle’s command to follow the lead of goats in his quest for ar empire, Caranus established the city as his capital, and thereafter he made it a solemn observance, wheresoever he took his army, to keep those same goats before his standards in order in have as leaders in his exploits the animals which he had had with him to found the kingdom. He gave the city of Edessa the name Aegaeae and its people the name Aegeads in memory of this service
M.Justinus’ epitome of Pompeius Trogus’ Universal History 7.1.
VIDEOS 26 & 27 (Polybius)
Propaganda videos #26 & #27 are also just a waste of time to watch. All they do is quote texts that use expressions such as ‘Macedonia and Greece’. As explained elsewhere these are clearly political distinctions, not ethnic ones. For more information please read here: false distinction.
In fact, Polybius has stated that the Macedonians were Greeks in other places of his texts, such as:
“This is a sworn treaty made between us, Hannibal the general, Mago, Myrkan, Barmokar and all other Carthaginian senators present with him, and all Carthaginians serving under him, on the one side, and Xenophanes the Athenian, son of Kleomachos, the envoy whom King Philip, son of Demetrios, sent to us on behalf of himself, and the Macedonians and allies, on the other side. `In the presence of Zeus, Hera and Apollo; in the presence of the Genius of Carthage; …and in the presence of all the gods who possess Carthage; and in the presence of all the Gods who possess Macedonia AND THE REST OF HELLAS; and in the presence of all the gods of the army who preside over this oath. Thus said Hannibal the general and all the Carthaginian senators along with him and the Carthaginian soldiers: ..That King Philip and the Macedonians AND the REST OF THE HELLENES who are their allies shall protect the Carthaginians,… King Philip and the Macedonians AND the OTHER HELLENES who are their allies shall be protected and guarded by the Carthaginians…”
Polybius “The Histories”, 7.9.1-7.
Obviously in the above text, Polybius includes the Macedonians with the rest of the Greeks (Hellenes). For more such texts indicating that the Macedonians were Greeks please read here: Polybius
VIDEO 28 (Philip V, Johannes Malalas)
Propaganda video #28 is making a very poor case again. The text it quotes in no way does it make an ethnic distinction between Greeks and Macedonians. Philip V considered his Macedonians as Greeks; otherwise why would he act like a Greek and say about the Roman camp the following words?
It is said that as he [Philip V] looked down on it and gazed with admiration on the appearance of the camp as a whole and its various sections marked off by the rows of tents and the roads crossing each other, he exclaimed, “No one can possibly take that for a camp of barbarians.” For two whole days the king and the consul kept their respective armies in camp, each waiting for the other to attack. On the third day the Roman general led out his whole force to battle. (Livy 31.34.4)
Propaganda video #28 continues with Malalas presenting political distinctions as ethnic ones. Nowhere in his texts are the Macedonians considered as non-Greeks. It is all in the imagination of the video creator.
VIDEO 29 (Josephus Flavius)
There is absolutely nothing in propaganda video #29 that says that the Macedonians were not Greeks. Finally it ends with a text that makes a political distinction between Macedonians and Greeks, not an ethnic distinction.
VIDEO 30 (Apostle Paul)
All references to Macedonia in the letters of Paul are purely geographical and not ethnic. Even the part which is translated as ‘Aristarchus, Macedonian from Thessaloniki’ is a geographical reference, just like when one would say “Leonidas, Lacedaemonian from Sparta”, and should have been more accurately translated as “Aristarchus, of Thessaloniki of Macedonia”. The original text is “ὄντος σὺν ἡμῖν Ἀριστάρχου Μακεδόνος Θεσσαλονικέως”, which is a geographical reference.
In Berea, Paul went to a Jewish synagogue where he didn’t find Macedonians. (Chapter 17)
“The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.”
In Thessaloniki, we find no ‘Macedonian’ ethnicity either, but we do find Greeks:
1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.
Why is that? Obviously, because there is no non-Greek Macedonian ethnicity but because Macedonians were Greeks!
In fact, the Bible has other texts that prove this fact:
“And there came out of them (Alexander’s III servants) a wicked root, Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes son of Antiochus the king who had been a hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the 137th year of the kingdom of the Greeks.”
(Maccabees, Book II, ch.1, “The cruelties of Antiochus Epiphanes to the Jews”)
“About that time, king Antiochus travelling through the high countries, heard say, that Elymais, in the country of Persia, was a city greatly renowned for riches, silver and gold, and that the temple, which was in it, was very rich, wherein were coverings of gold and breast plates and shields, which Alexander III, son of Philip II the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the Greeks had left there.”
(Maccabees, Book II, ch.6, “The death of Antiochus Epiphanes”)
“And Judas chose Eupolemus the son of John, the son of Accos and Jason the son of Eleazar and sent them to Rome to make a league of amity and confederacy with them (Jews) and to intreat them that they (Romans) would take the yoke from them for they saw that the kingdom of the Greeks did oppress Israel with servitude.”
(Maccabees, Book II, ch.8, “Judas makes a league with the Romans”)
“While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and seeked for comprehension, someone with the appearance of a man stood in front of me. Then I heard a human voice from the Oulai river saying ‘Gabriel make him understand the vision’. Gabriel came next to me. I was scared and I fell down facing the soil. He told me ‘Understand human, the vision refers to the end of times’. While he was speaking, i was sleeping deeply with my face on the soil. He touched me and made me stand up. He said ‘ I will tell you what will happen in the end, in a specific time, when GOD’s wrath ceases. The Ram you saw with the two horns are the kings of Medians and Persians. The Goat is the kingdom of Greeks and the horn between the eyes is the first king [Alexander].”
(Daniel chapter 8 verses 15-27)
And thus, once more, another video from Alexandar Donski was proven to be mere propaganda.
VIDEO 31 (Theopompus, Hesychius)
Propaganda video #31 uses a different approach from the one we’ve seen so far; it uses invalid inferences and lies. Therefore, we shall devote some more time on this.
The video makes a giant leap in logic by using suppositions and asks us to essentially have faith in what it claims. First, it admits that they “could not reach the original fragments by Theopompus” and then they conclude that “this ancient Greek historian clearly treated the Macedonians as a separate nation” by claiming to use British documents written over two millennia later. They do not even have the courtesy of quoting these documents but rather describe in their own words that “Theopompus specifically mentioned the nations that made up the Greek Amphictyonic Council (which we already mentioned). In the list of these nations (Ionians, Dorians, Achaeans, Phocians and others), not only are the Macedonians not mentioned, but not a single Epirote nation is mentioned as well, which means that, according to Theopompus …., neither Epirus nor Macedonia were Greek territories”. Shall we believe what the video says? Obviously, it deliberately forgets that the Macedonians belonged to the Dorian tribe, as proven by ancient sources and archaeological finds, but this is not our only defense.
Our defense is also based on Athenaeus who wrote Deipnosophistes in the 3rd c AD. In Book IV. 166f -167d he quotes Theopompus:
Concerning the extravagance and mode of life of Philip and his companions Theopompus writes the following in the forty-ninth book of the Histories. ‘After Philip had become possessor of a large fortune he did not spend it fast. No! he threw it outdoors and cast it away, being the worst manager in the world. This was true of his companions as well as himself. For to put it unqualifiedly, not one of them knew how to live uprightly or to manage an estate discreetly. He himself was to blame for this; being insatiable and extravagant, he did everything in a reckless manner, whether he was acquiring or giving. For as a soldier he had not time to count up revenues and expenditures. Add to this also that his companions were men who had rushed to his side from very many quarters; some were from the land to which he himself belonged, others were from Thessaly, still others were from all the rest of Greece, selected not for their supreme merit; on the contrary, nearly every man in the Greek or barbarian world of a lecherous, loathsome, or ruffianly character flocked to Macedonia and won the title of “companions of Philip.” And even supposing that one of them was not of this sort when he came, he soon became like all the rest, under the influence of the Macedonian life and habits. It was partly the wars and campaigns, partly also the extravagances of living that incited them to be ruffians, and live, not in a law-abiding spirit, but prodigally and like highwaymen.’
It is clear here that Theopompus includes Macedonia (“the land to which he [Philip] himself belonged”) and Thessaly as parts of Greece.
Finally, Polybius (8.11.4) criticizes Theopompus where the former clearly advocates that Macedonian history belongs to Greece:
Surely it would have been much more dignified and fairer to include Philip’s achievements in the history of Greece than to include the history of Greece in that of Philip
Propaganda video #31 in this case uses lies to create the impression that Macedonians were barbarians. Let’s prove these lies as follows:
First of all, Hesychius compiled a lexicon of Greek words. So why would he include Macedonian words in it? Now, the words used solely in Macedonia catalogued by Hesychius in the 5th-6th century AD, amount to around 203 words and proper names. The majority of these words can be confidently assigned to Greek albeit some words would appear to reflect a dialectal form of Greek. There are, however, a very small number of words that are not easily identifiable as Greek (most probably loanwords given their vicinity to barbaric people) and reveal, for example, voiced stops where Greek shows voiceless aspirates. Specific words and consonant shifts are, however, present in most dialects of most languages.
Anyway, let’s not ponder on this any longer but rather attack the propaganda video at its lie: the video mentions that for the word sarisa Hesychius says “the barbarians Macedonians”. This is not what Hesychius says at all! He says: “long spear, a kind of Greek javelin, barbarian sword. Macedonians.”
The word Macedonians here is placed to denote that this word was used by the Macedonians. Similarly, in the same lexicon, the word above sarisa, sarir, is used by the Laconians (i.e. Spartans), as Hesychius explains its meaning: “branch of palm tree. Laconians“.
So here it is proven that Hesychius does not call the Macedonians as barbarians and that the video is blatantly lying.
But let’s make some additional points while we’re on Hesychius.
Note that one of the definitions of sarisa is ‘barbarian sword’. We all know that the Macedonian sarisa was a spear not a sword. So why didn’t he write ‘barbarian spear’ also if the Macedonians were barbarians? The answer is simple: because Macedonians were Greeks.
In addition, Hesychius gives us various meanings of the word ‘barbarian’.
- βάρβαροι· οἱ ἀπαίδευτοι, barbarians, the uneducated.
- βαρβαρισμός· παράτονος διάλεκτος, barbarism, a bad sounding dialect.
- βάρβαρα· ἀσύνετα. ἄτακτα, barbarously, inexpedient, naughty.
- βαρβαρόφωνοι· οἱ Ἠλεῖοι καὶ οἱ Κᾶρες, ὡς τραχύφωνοι καὶ ἀσαφῆ τὴν φωνὴν ἔχοντες, barbarophones, the Eleians and the Carians, for having a harsh and uncertain speech.
Therefore the term served three different purposes:
- To describe an uncivilized or uneducated person (Greek or foreign) – by urban Greek standards
- Someone difficult/hard/impossible to understand when speaking (a Greek dialect or a foreign language)
- A foreigner – when the term is not used against other Greeks
We have therefore extensively proven how video #31 is propaganda at its lowest form.
VIDEO 32-33-34 (Pausanias)
These three propaganda videos are quite easy to dispute. All they do is cherry-pick texts in attempting to convince us that these imply ethnic distinctions between Macedonians and Greeks, when it is proven in earlier videos that these expressions are merely political distinctions.
Pausanias clearly viewed the Macedonians as Greeks when we consider some of his texts: Pausanias
Finally, one laughable argument of propaganda video #32 is that it claims Macedonia isn’t Greek because Pausanias in his works entitled ‘Description of Greece’ he omits Macedonia and describes only the areas of Attica, Argolis, Laconia, Messenia, Elis, Achaea, Arcadia, Boetia, Phocis and Locris. But he also omits Corinth, Thessaly, Epirus, and all the Greek islands! I guess under this ridiculous logic these weren’t Greek either.
VIDEO 35 (Plutarch – part 1)
Propaganda video #35 tries to convince us that the Macedonian language was not Greek.
First of all, the existence of the word μακεδονιστί in Ancient Greek on its own does not prove that the ancient Greeks thought of Makedonians as foreigners because the ancient Greeks also had the words δωριστί (dōristí), meaning “in Doric,” αἰολιστί (aiolistí), meaning “in Aeolic,” ἀττικιστί (attikistí), meaning “in Attic,” and ἰωνιστί (iōnistí), meaning “in Ionic”, or even Pelloponesian (“Πελοποννασιστί”) from Corinthian women in Theocritus, Idylls, 15, 92.
These words all refer to dialects of the Greek language that existed in antiquity. No one at all could dispute that the Attic dialect was Greek, but yet the ancient Greeks still had that word ἀττικιστί for “in Attic” (e.g. in Demosthenes, υπέρ Μεγαλοπολιτών 2). These words were used to distinguish different forms of the Greek language from each other—not to designate languages as non-Greek.
The relationship between Attic Greek and Makedonian can be thought of as similar to the relationship between London English and Scots; the two are definitely closely related, but they are not always mutually intelligible.
The traditional English pronunciation of classical Greek presents an obstacle to the understanding of the problem. To make things simple, one may say that classical Greek originally possessed several series of occlusive consonants or stops, that is to say consonants obtained by the momentary occlusion of the respiratory ducts. These, according to the articulatory region, can be distinguished into labials, dentals and velars (the occlusion is respectively performed by the lips, the teeth or the velum of the palate) and, according to the articulatory mode, into unvoiced (/p/, /t/, /k/), voiced (/b/, /d/, /g/) and unvoiced “aspirates” – in fact “expirates”, that is to say, accompanied by a breathing – (/ph/, /th/, /kh/). These “aspirates”, in some dialects from the archaic period and in most by the Hellenistic age, had become spirants, that is to say they were no longer obtained by the complete occlusion of the respiratory ducts, but by their simple contraction and were accordingly pronounced as /f/, /θ/, /χ/. At the same time the voiced stops also might, according to the phonetic context, lose their occlusion and become spirants pronounced /v/, /δ/, /γ/. In fact, the chronology of the passage from the “classical” to the “Hellenistic” pronunciation varied according to dialect and to region.
Makedonisti (Greek: Μακεδονιστί) was not a different language in this sense, but was the way Macedonians spoke the Greek language which might have not been easily understood by other Greeks.
Down to very recent years discussion on the topic on the Macedonian consonantal system was almost exclusively dependent on literary evidence. The systematic collection of inscriptions from Macedonia in the Epigraphic Archive of KERA occasioned the publication of articles exploiting this epigraphic material, concluding that Macedonian was a doric (Greek) dialect. See for example the Pella curse tablet.
Finally, to prove that Plutarch viewed the Macedonians as Greeks, please refer to his numerous texts here: Plutarch
VIDEOS 36-37 (Plutarch – parts 2&3)
Both propaganda videos use their favorite technique of baptizing political distinctions as ethnic ones. Nowhere does Plutarch say that Macedonians were not Greeks. He does not even call them barbarians. Another fact is that Greeks often fought amongst themselves. To use this fact to “prove” that Macedonians were not Greeks is highly suspect.
Finally, another ridiculous claim of propaganda video #37 is that since Macedon king Perdiccas III was killed in battle, and was not included in the following text, therefore he wasn’t Greek.
“And certainly we see that in the many battles fought betwixt the Lacedaemonians and the other Greeks, up to the time of Philip of Macedon, not one of their kings was ever killed, except Cleombrotus, by a javelin-wound, at the battle of Leuctra.”
The propagandists do not realize that the above text was talking about Spartan (Lacedaemonian) kings, not Greek kings in general as they claim.
With this we end the Plutarch propaganda videos by providing texts from Plutarch which prove that the Macedonians were Greeks here: Plutarch.
VIDEOS 38-39 (Herodotus)
The last ancient source that this propaganda video series attempts to use is the father of History, Herodotus. Before we start tackling the propaganda, let us point out how Herodotus describes the Macedonians:
We take for example Herodotus Book I.56:
[1.56] …for during the reign of Deucalion, Phthiotis was the country in which the Hellenes dwelt, but under Dorus, the son of Hellen, they moved to the tract at the base of Ossa and Olympus, which is called Histiaeotis; forced to retire from that region by the Cadmeians, they settled, under the name of Macedni, in the chain of Pindus. Hence they once more removed and came to Dryopis; and from Dryopis having entered the Peloponnese in this way, they became known as Dorians.
It is evident that the Dorians traveled and obviously created settlements wherever they went. One of these settlements were the Macedonians (Macedni). When they went to the Peloponnese, another settlement were the Lacedaemonians (Spartans).
Another text from Herodotus is Book 8.43. This part lists the tribes that sent ships and says “ἐόντες οὗτοι πλὴν Ἑρμιονέων Δωρικόν τε καὶ Μακεδνὸν ἔθνος, ἐξ Ἐρινεοῦ τε καὶ Πίνδου καὶ τῆς Δρυοπίδος ὕστατα ὁρμηθέντες”, which translates to “all of these except the Hermioneans are both of Dorian and Macedonian race, last coming from Erineus and Pindus and the Dryopian region”.
Note that “ἔθνος” (race) is in singular and not plural form in the above. Also note that the little word “τε” combined with “καὶ” which both essentially mean ‘and’. This all means that Macedonians and Dorians are the same stock.
Therefore, from both passages 1.56 and 8.43, Herodotus says that the Macedonians are of Greek stock with them being the predecessors to the Dorians of Sparta, becoming such only with further migration and becoming distinct from those who settled in Macedonia. Both are of Hellenic stock according to Herodotus.
Having said this, let us examine the propaganda video on Herodotus. It starts by admitting that “Herodotus writes that the Macedonians were of Dorian origin”. Then they use Book 8.43 to say that Herodotus contradicts himself! Unfortunately, as they cannot read original ancient Greek, they are not aware of the actual correct translation of 8.43 as presented above. Therefore, their point is proven false.
Let us examine the video’s next point: it is trying to justify why Alexander was judged to be Greek by the ancient Hellanodikae. For lack of ancient sources it tries to use modern sources for this. One of their modern sources is Eugene Borza. They neglect of course to quote what Borza said:
“Ancient Macedonians are of north-western Greek stock”.
“Origin of the Macedonians lies in the pool of proto Greek speakers who migrated out of the Pindus mountains.”
“Ancient Macedonians originated from the same population pool as other Greek peoples.”
It also tries to use Peter Green, who among others says:
“Macedonia as a whole was tended to remain in isolation from the rest of the Greeks…” (“Alexander the Great”, p. 20)
Finally the video attempts to prove Alexander was not Greek just because he was called ‘Philhellene’. It wrongly states that this title was only given to foreigners. This is a title which could translate to ‘patriot’ or ‘friend of Greece’ and has been given to Greeks:
Hellenic tyrants, as Jason of Pherae, Isoc. 5.122:
Unless you are willing to think of Jason (a tyrant in Thessaly), Hippocrates (a native of Kos), Agesilaus (the Spartan King), and the Cypriot subjects of Evagoras as non-Greeks, then we see no reason why Alexander 1 being a Philhellene has any bearing on his being Greek.
As to his being Greek or not, we have his own words stating that he is Greek:
“αὐτός τε γὰρ Ἕλλην γένος εἰμὶ τὠρχαῖον, καὶ ἀντ᾽ ἐλευθέρης δεδουλωμένην οὐκ ἂν ἐθέλοιμι ὁρᾶν τὴν Ἑλλάδα”
and he did take part in the Olympics where only Greeks participated.
Let us take an analogy to further demonstrate the absurdity of the video’s claim. In Greek ‘man’ is ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ/anthropos; a man who loves his fellow man is ΦΙΛΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ/philanthropos (the root of philanthropist); a man who hates his fellow man is ΜΙΣΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ/misanthropos (think of Moliere’s Misanthrope). Of course, both a philanthropos and a misanthropos do not seize being anthropos.
To conclude, one can check some of Herodotus’ texts to realize that Macedonians were Greeks by reading here: Herodotus.
The final video does not quote any ancient sources. It is an attempt to convince us that ancient Macedonian is not Greek.
First it states that there is no Macedonian artifact written in Greek before the 5th c BC. Well, we assume they are not aware of this one for example (Vessel found at Edessa from the 6th c BC with the inscription of a name: ‘ΙΠΠΟΜΑΧΑΣ’, meaning ‘horse combatant’ or ‘fighter on horse’):
In any case, it is true that so far archaeology has not produced many artifacts. Does this mean that the Macedonians were not Greek? Why then no artifacts exist written in a non-Greek language? The answer is simple: the Macedonians were not non-Greeks but they were Greeks! Even the Thracians left us a (small) number of artifacts in their non-Greek language (albeit using the Greek alphabet, but not the language!).
Let us summarize why ancient Macedonians were Greeks:
b) Greek names, which were all of Greek origin with the exception of a handful of names considered as loans.
c) Greek symbols, such as the Sun of Vergina, which was used by the other Greeks before the Macedonians did.
d) participation in Pan-Hellenic Games, where no foreigners were allowed. Contrary to what propagandists might say, many Macedonians participated, not only Alexander I.
e) they used Greek toponyms (e.g. Thessalonike),
f) they worshiped Greek heroes (e.g. Achilles, Hercules), Greek gods and had Greek customs.
g) they used a calendar using Greek months (Ancient Macedonian calendar – Wikipedia),
h) they listened to Greek theater (e.g. Euripides at Pella has been well-documented),
i) they even called themselves Greek and they never called themselves non-Greek. In fact, they would call non-Greeks as barbarians, just like the rest of the Greeks did (e.g. when Philip V saw the Roman camp (Livy 31.34.4-9)).
j) Even foreigners called them Greek, such as the Persians, Egyptians, etc, (e.g. Yauna takabara – Greek with sunhats). What did the 6th century BC Persians write about the ancient Macedonian Greeks?
k) Ancient sources indicate that they were Greeks.
Of course, among Greek tribes there may be some minor differences in customs, government, dialects, but all Greek tribes differed from one another to various degrees. Only propagandists would rely on these differences to call the Macedonians non-Greek!
All we can say is that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s gotta be a duck.
We would like to end by expressing our opinion of these 40 propaganda videos using the following quote from T.J. Winnifrith, British academic:
” ‘Macedonia’ [now North Macedonia, former FYROM] was also an attempt at a multicultural society. Here the fragments are just about holding together, although the cement that binds them is an unreliable mixture of propaganda and myth. The ‘Macedonian’ language has been created, some rather misty history involving Tsar Samuel, probably a Bulgarian, and Alexander the Great, almost certainly a Greek, has been invented, and the name Macedonia has been adopted.
Do we destroy these myths or live with them? Apparently these ‘radical Slavic factions’ decided to live with their myths and lies for the constant amusement for the rest of the world!“
(“Shattered Eagles, Balkan Fragments”, Duckworth, 1995)